US bill links Pakistan aid to not backing anti-India activitiesApril 30th, 2009 - 11:32 am ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 30 (IANS) An influential US lawmaker plans to co-sponsor a bill that would link US economic assistance to Pakistan to Islamabad’s pledge not to support anti-India activities.
The bill strikes a good balance between providing military aid to Pakistan while remaining sensitive to concerns by India about the kind of military hardware that would be available, said Democrat Jim McDermott, the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, announcing his intent.
For instance, McDermott said Wednesday the bill restricts Pakistan from buying additional F-16s beyond those already contracted for: “I agree with India’s concerns that new F-16s could pose a threat and they aren’t very useful for counter-insurgency.”
Called the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2009, or the PEACE Act, the bill was introduced April 2 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman. It seeks to provide $1.5 billion of annual assistance to Pakistan for a period of five years.
The bill providing for a threefold increase in US economic assistance to Pakistan would require Islamabad to undertake not to support any person or group involved in activities meant to hurt India and to allow US investigators access to individuals suspected of engaging in nuclear proliferation.
Meanwhile, US military officials Wednesday appealed for more flexibility in proposed legislation that would greatly increase economic and military aid to Pakistan.
Officials appearing before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee emphasized the fragility of the situation in Pakistan and urged lawmakers to trust the US military to hold itself and Pakistan accountable for progress, rather than set rigid conditions.
Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy reflected heightened concern in the US military establishment about Pakistan’s ability to deal effectively with an intensifying insurgency.
Amid what she called a “deteriorating situation,” Flournoy said many Pakistani civilians and political leaders fear violent retaliation if they openly oppose extremist groups.
All of this, she said, underscores the urgency of enabling the Obama administration to proceed with the initial steps of its plan to strengthen the US-Pakistan partnership.
Flournoy conceded that forging an effective partnership between the two militaries hasn’t always been straightforward.
For too long, she said, Pakistan has eyed India - rather than militants within its own borders - as its biggest threat, and has focused its resources accordingly.
There’s also been a “trust deficit” between the two countries, she said, that needs to be put behind as Pakistan and the United States recognise they share common interests.
- Best way to end Pakistan's support for terrorist groups is to win Afghan war: McCain - Mar 16, 2011
- Never received any complaint from Pak regarding access to military aid: US - Jul 04, 2010
- Canadian Celebrity, Dean McDermott, Becomes A Citizen Of The US - Aug 22, 2010
- Clinton urges US Congress not to cut 'important' Pakistan aid - Mar 02, 2011
- Closer ties with India, China no threat to either: US - Jul 02, 2010
- US not ready to link Pakistan aid to action against LeT - Oct 28, 2011
- US Congressional panel approves tripling of aid to Pakistan; conditions apply (Lead) - May 21, 2009
- Pentagon pitches for $10 bn Indian fighter jet deal - Jul 02, 2010
- US must reassure Pakistan about India, says US official - Apr 30, 2010
- US House welcomes Manmohan Singh, commends maturing of India-US relations - Nov 19, 2009
- Feds arrest, charge California man with threatening WA Congressman McDermott - Jan 13, 2011
- US to continue reassuring Pak that it faces no threat from India - Apr 30, 2010
- US Congress extends welcome to Manmohan Singh - Nov 06, 2009
- Tori Spelling names daughter - Oct 13, 2011
- US House approves $1.5 bn aid for Pakistan tied to fighting terror - Dec 11, 2009
Tags: armed services committee, arun kumar, congressional caucus, economic assistance, foreign affairs committee, fragility, house foreign affairs committee, howard berman, india activities, jim mcdermott, michele flournoy, military aid, military establishment, military hardware, nuclear proliferation, peace act, rigid conditions, situation in pakistan, threefold increase, us lawmaker